Prosecution: Call to recuse CJ a desperate move to delay proceedings

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The application was made just before the apex court was to hear Najib’s final appeal in August last year.

  • Request to recuse CJ an attempt to scuttle hearing of appeals
  • CJ’s husband’s FB posting made before Najib charged
  • No animosity in CJ’s husband FB post towards Najib

Najib Razak’s legal team’s request for the recuse of Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat from chairing the former prime minister’s final appeal in the SRC International case was a desperate move to hold up proceedings, ad hoc prosecutor V Sithambaram said.

He said the application to recuse Tengku Maimun, citing a 2018 Facebook post by her husband, clearly shows it was filed to scuttle proceedings.

“The post, which was published on May 11, 2018, had nothing to do with Najib’s appeals before the Federal Court.

“It was not personal animosity against Najib but just a rakyat (chief justice’s husband Zamani Ibrahim) expressing himself. This cannot be grounds for recusal,” Sithambaram told the Federal Court today.

The application was made just before the apex court was to hear Najib’s final appeal in August last year.

Tengku Maimun rejected the application, ruling that there was no link between the Facebook post made by her husband and the case.

“To recuse a judge is a real danger of bias. It is my view that the test has not been established. The Facebook post by my husband cannot amount to a real danger of bias,” she had said.

Sithambaram said the 11th-hour application by Najib’s lead defence counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik was last-ditch effort to delay proceedings.

“It is incredible that the applicant (Najib) only found out about this four-year-old post on August 22 last year, a day before the trial was to conclude on August 23.

Mohd Fadli Hamzah/NST

“This (post) was made even before the SRC trial was in prosecution stage. This cannot be grounds for recusal. It was a desperate, last-minute attempt to scuttle the appeals.”

Najib’s application to review the earlier Federal Court decision to reject his appeal was heard today.

The former prime minister had last year filed a motion to review the SRC International ruling on grounds the court had breached the principles of natural justice, including his right to a fair trial and a lawyer.

He is also seeking to overturn his guilty verdict as well as his 12-year jail sentence and RM210 million fine for stealing RM42 million of SRC International’s funds.

The review continues on Monday. – TMI